Our Wins at the Travel Media Awards

Hoi An, Vietnam
Hoi An, Vietnam
Full moon during the Lantern Festival, Hoi An, Vietnam

A few days ago the Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC) announced the results of their annual TMAC Awards. Of the 12 categories, we were thrilled to get two First Place Awards, two Seconds, one Third, and an Honourable Mention. Almost all of the awards were for articles or photos published in Photojourneys last year. While we have been fortunate to receive a lot of positive feedback on our work from our readers, it is also rewarding that professional writing and photography judges found value in our work as well. Here is a brief rundown of the awards and the story behind a few of them.

Photo Awards

We received First Place in the category – Best Landscape or Evocation of Place. It was for a night photo of Hoi An appearing in the article The Many Faces of Hoi An, Vietnam

We were in Hoi An during the Lantern Festival which takes place during the full moon. The streets become very crowded in the evening with a lot of people milling around (these were the good old days before social distancing.) The challenge was getting enough light for a night image but a fast enough shutter speed that the constantly moving people wouldn’t be blurred. The compromise settings were 1/30 sec, f4.8, and a fairly high ISO of 1600.

Here’s part of what the judges had to say:

“You can almost smell southeast Asia pouring out of this photograph. The evening promenade is a well-established tradition in many cultures and this image shows it at its best promoting travel to immerse the viewer in this culture.”

The People’s Choice Award for photography is a bit different from the other categories in that it isn’t judged but rather voted on by the TMAC membership. We received Second Place for this photo of monarch butterflies which appeared in the article Visiting Mexico’s Marvelous Monarchs. We got this image at the El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Reserve near Angangueo, Mexico.

Monarch butterflies
Monarch Butterflies, El Rosario Reserve, Mexico

In the same category, we also received an Honourable Mention for our photo of a bald eagle in the article on the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre. This is a wonderful place to get up close and personal with some magnificent birds, so we took advantage of the situation to get a portrait of an eagle, something that is quite challenging in the wild.

Alberta Birds of Prey Centre, Coaldale AB
This IS my happy face.

Writing Awards

We received First Place in the category – Best Coverage of a Host Destination. It was for our article Wawa, Ontario is More Than a Goose and a Moose that appeared in Roadstories.ca. The article was the result of a wonderful few days we spent in Wawa last summer getting in touch with the small community’s history, canoeing on the Michipicoten River, kayaking on Lake Superior, and learning about the town’s offbeat mascots – the giant goose and the stuffed moose.

Wawa Goose, Wawa Ontario
The Wawa Goose.

According to the judges:

“The goose/moose theme is an original premise that unifies this eclectic story well. Other historical detail is nicely interwoven into the contemporary account. The writing is witty at times (“take a gander”) and the concluding paragraph provides a helpful summation.”

We received Second Place in the category – Best Outdoors, Wildlife, or Environmental Responsible Tourism Feature for our story Visiting Mexico’s Marvelous Monarchs – the same article that was recognized for the photo of the monarchs.

The judges’ comments:

”Excellent opening paragraphs: vivid, scene-establishing, and solid nut graph. Nice job explaining to the reader how to partake and guiding the reader to the importance of conservation. Fun to read, packed with info.”

In the Best Adventure, Sport, or Recreation Feature category, we received Third Place for our story Wonders of the Kalahari

Lion, Kalahari desert
Lion resting atop a Kalahari Desert sand dune.

The judges said:

“Professional prose that never draws attention to itself allows the reader to focus on the content, which is riveting. Strong images of the remote land bring the reader along with the writer, thanks to a focus on a few highlights – animals, stranded tourists, changing weather – rather than cramming in everything.”

If you’re interested in seeing the entire 35 minute Awards Video Presentation, you can find it here

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